Dream of Endless Running

Running is freedom from ego bondage and the shaping of character. It enables being soul.

I don\’t take a day off running/exercise because it is a spiritual practice. It is training in non-decision; that is I already decided to pursue Spirit, so no more decisions are needed. It is being; that is, it is constant. It denies sloth and keeps the pattern of degenerative society at bay. It is a maintenance of solitude. It is a practice and prayer of eternity. My dream of endless running is eternal love.

It is Monday morning. I was up at 3:12. A line of ferocious thunder storms just passed over head. But, now, it is over and I can go out for a run. See you later.

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The Task – of being and living

Yesterday I ran in a small half marathon road race. It was the first race this year that I have actually tried to race. I only decided to go in it on Thursday because my legs were feeling good and I wanted to do something different than my usual ultra training.

I ran very well: right at 2 hours. And second in my age group. I have a cool t-shirt and a nice medal. But really, I expended a ton of energy running at that speed. It cost me a pound or two. That disturbs me a bit as I don\’t really have it to lose.

This morning, I slept in, even though it meant doing any running in 90F heat with humidity. Then I had a leisurely coffee, breakfast and spiritual study.

During my sleeping in, I had my first dream I can remember that involved alcohol. That is, I was stuck in some place with some people I think were sisters. We decided to buy alot of alcohol and drink it because we were stuck in that place with nothing to do so it wouldn\’t matter if we got drunk. But, just before going out to buy anything, I said, \”Wait. I can\’t. I\’m an alcoholic.\” And this is true. But in the dream, alcohol was a symbol of alot of things of society which I refuse to do, but which is acceptable to others. I simply will-not-go-along-period.

 I\’ve just finished a new book by Meg Funk, something about depths. She is the Benedictine sister from Beechgrove Indiana who was responsible for getting me kicked out of my monastery. This book was in 3 parts: her live before Bolivia, her almost drowning in a river in Bolivia and her life after Bolivia where she tries to make sense of the spirituality from the drowning experience.

Suddenly this morning, I had a new take on my own monastic experience. I was born spiritually when I was 22 on a street in the city of Old Jerusalem. Then there was a long period of growth. Then there was my 4 year monastic experience; which I now see as losing my life. I mean ego deflation at depth and culminating in the ego\’s worst nightmare: loss of validation in all areas of my life.

As I came out of the monastery I had a choice: go be a normal secular person or continue on the spiritual path. I chose the later; but I did not know at the time what it\’s primary difficulty would be: continued denial of the ego. See, it is a solitary path without a physical teacher and no validation from any person or institution. It is totally an attempt to listen to my inner being and well, just be. Its been almost 8 years since I left the monastery and only now do I have a handle on the fact that My Soul alone rules in my life.

The vagueness of purpose totally bugs my ego; which is probably why I get confused at work and seek promotions. Also, being an athlete doesn\’t seem like a very important spiritual activity or life purpose. Even my own salvation, spiritual growth or purification seems a waste because there is no reward on the earthly plane.

The solitude in which I live is so easily criticized by my ego. A life of prayer and peace is not exciting or worthwhile for an ego. Given these complaints however, I don\’t take up a new activity. I merely sit in silence some more.

I face a blank wall, or a path into fog and darkness, or a corner I can\’t see around, or a door not opened.

Almost all my teaching says that to seek God alone is futile, egoistic or wrong. There is an occasional spiritual master who has a different story; but still, it is hazardous to live a self directed spiritual life. but yet here I am. I have searched many groups. I can fake belonging on a physical level but it is never genuine. God is here in my heart and I return again to the silence to commune.

I need to move forward. This involves continuing down the unknown purposeless path.

Today I did go out into the heat. I had no goal but to seek self transcendence in the act of walking out the door. I had a load of water and some protein bites. 4 hours and 42 minutes later, I had jog/walked 17.3 miles on the hills. I wore my desert hat and it totally helps to keep the sun off your neck. Even if I hadn\’t run a race yesterday, I don\’t think I could have gone faster today. the faster you go, the higher your core temperature. I would have had to have access to ice water, frequently, to go any faster. At the slow speed, there was a heat balance.

Silent Solitude

When I was getting kicked out of the monastery, I was terribly upset that I would never have the close relationship with Jesus, as spouse, that the sisters professed to have. Hidden in the fear was the notion that I wouldn\’t be as good as them in God\’s eyes.

Now, realizing today, Jesus is a mental object for me. This mental object seems to have no reality in the tangible world whatsoever. I have either been faking it, hoping he would show up based on my faith. Or I had faith that despite his lack of reality, good ideas and beneficial situations were somehow spiritual gifts. I presumed that there was an accessible spiritual level filled with a tangible presence, a personality, which could be felt.

But now I admit that the spiritual level is for me a silent solitude which is a dark nothingness. No voices. No lights. There may be a sense of presence, but that sense could be merely a projection of my fervent wish for a tangible presence. Its funny that I hesitate to say it is darkness because I have before been accused of being in the devil because the devil is darkness and God is light.

For decades I have entered the silent solitude and looked for anything else. I read books and noticed that other people found something. So I continued my pursuit. Many people find nothing, give up, go have a beer and forget about spiritual pursuits. Yet I have persistently continued to enter that nothingness and say, \”Into your hands I commend my spirit.\”

I said before that this silent solitude need not be perceived as terrible; and reacted to with a desperate primal scream followed by furious worldly activity which roots the person firmly in the concrete world. I am coming to believe that I can live consciously in the reality of the silent solitude, the dark nothingness.  I am coming to identify with the reality of silent solitude and allow my investment in the concrete world fritter away. I see that if my loyalty is to the nothingness, then all my worldly fears have no basis. I prefer to live fearless, even if it is as nothing.

Such a plan to let go of tangible reality would be considered psychologically dangerous. The fear of what other people thin of me is probably one of the biggest barriers to freedom that I have allowed to govern my consciousness. Now, my decision is to live in spiritual silence and follow each intuitive thought. The hazard is the insidious underlying selfish hope: if I pretend to be nothing, maybe I\’ll fool the gods into giving me emotional pleasure and enviable knowledge this time. That knowledge of God which is better than what others have is what my ego wants.

I, the unknown spirit writing this, am starting to want a silence which is utterly pristine, unadulterated by spiritual achievement.

Holiday Retreat – Day 8

I have been off work and alone for 8 days. My recovery from the world is going well.

Personal Statistics:
Saturday – 80 minutes on ex-machines and a 10 mile run plus a strength workout.
Sunday – 13.1 mile race plus 65 min of jogging for warm up and cool down plus a 59 minute walk.
Monday – 120 min on ex-machines plus 6 mile jog plus a strength workout.
Tuesday – 60 min on ex machines, 10.8 mile run and 41 min walk.
Wednesday – 18.9 miles run plus strength workout.
Thursday – 4 hours on ex-machines, 4 mile run and strength workout.
Friday – 3h41 min trail run.
Saturday – 15 mile walk plus strength workout plus 60 min on ex-machines.
Sunday – ________ TBD.

Pondering:

  • I made my list of Right Answers (see below). I need this list of non-ego thoughts so that when I am in trouble, I have something true to hang onto. And the list is a way to keep from letting my mind go wherever it wants.
  • I realize that the founders of A Course in Miracles and the more well known teachers seem not to have achieved \”it.\” Yet I believe that I can learn from Jesus and escape from ego prison. I am committed to the Course as my spiritual path.
  • I seek quiet and solitude because I need to hear something besides the yammering of the ego in the world. \”Be still and know God\” is a perfectly clear approach.
  • I spent Friday running the trails with this in my head: Into Thy hands I commend my spirit. I pondered the giving up of the ego and total reliance on God. Late at night, I felt that I had a moment of clarity: I have accepted God\’s peace. I am willing to let The Holy Spirit care for me. Yes God I accept Your peace. I said this and meant it. I accepted the power of peace instead of the ego grandiosity.
  • Today, walking, I look at the future. The company plans to lay off 600 people. Will I be one? It doesn\’t matter. I rely on The Holy Spirit.
  • Today marks the third day of absolutely no human interaction. I see how different my mind is when there is no one else around to posture before. I am a simple truth without the ego\’s presence.
  • I thought about applying for a job in Germany; but it would mean tons of world wide travel. I accept that solitude is my way or I would have corrected that in the past year instead of going further into solitude. So, I won\’t apply for the job. I\’ll wait and see what The Holy Spirit has for me here.

List of Right Answers:
There is no ego. Hate does not exist.
If I am afraid, I am deceived.
Fear is lack of love. Atonement heals.
Love alone is my reality.
In the holy instant I forgive.
And miracles come forth as love expressed.

The Holy Spirit is the Voice for God.
I hear Him speak quietly in my mind.
I am not alone. Jesus is here.
Jesus is the undoing of the dream.

God is not symbolic. He is fact.
His peace cannot be shaken. I am free.
The innocent always truly see.
Christ vision is their one and only sight.
Into God\’s Hands I commend my spirit.
And so my mind awakens to His peace.

This is my commitment and the Truth.
Love is my intention as of now.

I Give My Mind to God

This thought came to me last night: what I want is a life of total reliance on God. Period.

Now today: Another Saturday. Another Saturday spent both running and in the aftermath of running. This morning, I ran 16.2 miles in the park and then another 9.7 on the trails. Considering this all took 5:45, I feel good. In a sense, this morning was a personal best. I had not done the trails before with that many miles already on my legs. I saw no less than 3 baby turtles in the sanctuary.

I run in peace in the sanctuary of my mind as well. My running stands in solitude, with my mind and my spirit, an incomprehensible mirror of the contemplative life, a doorway to another world. I am free. My running is my spirit. My life is devoted to God in contemplation and solitude; a way of life whose value has no worldly equivalent and whose truth cannot be grasped by the ego mind.

I let God guide me. I see that things do indeed change. I see them differently. I am a solitary contemplative, celibate, sober, A Course in Miracles student, long distance runner. The joy of these things is not understood by others; but I see that I no longer feel angry about that. The anger has been my problem. Slowly, I have given it to the Holy Spirit. Now, it is light and I see light all around me. I see beyond this world and no longer hold it hostage to my ego needs.

So, I will again go running tomorrow. For now, I will sit quietly, looking inward at the light of Christ, maintaining its presence as the one thing in my mind. I will drink clear water.

The Joy of Solitude

To be in solitude is not a hatred of others or an attack on society. Many chose to be solitary for just these reasons. However, if we are dilligent with our transcendental practices, a miracle occurs. Solitude becomes a practice of dispelling illusions, letting the thought disturbances settle, so the Divine Light, present in everyone, is clearly seen. In solitude, judgement is dismantled, disarmed and dispersed; because I become aware of the judge as ego, not love. I become aware of the judge as a keeper of dark thoughts and decide to shine the light on them. Light dispells dark, period.

Most of us want a great escape from life. What most of us don\’t know is that it is our own thoughts which torture us. In solitude, alone with the thoughts, I offer them to the Presence of Love, Christ, Self; where they are transformed into peace. At some point in this process, I find I have more loving thoughts towards others than judging thoughts. This is the miracle. This is joy. This is the end of the illusion world and the beginning of the real world.

God is love. Would love create a torture chamber for His Son? No. So what I see must not be what God made. So I must change. In solitude, I change my thinking to a conscious of love. That is the miracle. Peace is pure joy.

Running the Heart Sutra

Walking on the tm tonight, I felt the need to retreat into nothing, yet work out in the nothingness. I believe I can go nowhere in my ultra-retreat. This is the heart sutra:

Body is nothing more than emptiness, emptiness is nothing more than body. The body is exactly empty, and emptiness is exactly body.

I have a new paradigm: the work out paradigm. Some people live in a paradigm were they run only for fitness or when they are training for a race, a goal, a purpose. People view aerobic activity as something only done within limits: those of injury, time, “balance” or “got tired of it.” But what if you lived in a paradigm where you could work out without injury for endlessly long periods of time. Is this heaven for you? It is for me. I finally see it. I have developed a method for continuous working out as long as fuel goes in. I like this. It is not a punishment or some method for “digging deep.” It’s just enjoyment of a state of being. It used to be “challenging myself.” Now it is the enjoyable norm.

So, in emptiness, there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness.

In the solitude of working out in my living room or running endless laps in a tiny park, I get to the place of no consciousness; only being. In the state of pure being, Oneness is found and the innocence of Life is found.

In the old paradigm, you see a person running and running and think they are hurting. In the new one, it is painless, unlimited happiness. My 5 day ultra-retreat starts Wednesday after work.

Normal Friday at Home

Tonight feels like the first normal night I have had in a week (actually it is): came home from work, ate, napped, and worked out. I have come home to the dimensionless, infinite solitude of my one bedroom apartment.

It is not that I cannot socialize or am not good at it; it’s that I seek something beyond the material world. Seeking the Beyond in solitude is not disrespectful or arrogant toward other people. Spiritual solitude is just a choice to serve all by attending consciously and directly to the Presence. As one person remembers God, they do so for all; since minds are joined.

The world does not understand the need to change false beliefs and silence worldly thoughts for the purpose of remembering God. I am following a spiritual course of action because the awareness of God is the top of my priority list.

My trainer nixed my idea of the Maryville Marathon. So now I need to hunker down and just steadily work out until July 23: Lunar Trek (40 mile ultra, at night on the Kansas prairie). It’s back to the silence and the pondering of the Presence. I love being consistent. I love turning right into health and fitness; while the world jabbers away but takes no action.

Tomorrow I will head out for a long ultra pace run. Nothing will be proved. Time will be spent. It will be sweaty. It will be monotonous. I will be just a girl, jogging along with a thought of God playing over and over in her head.

One of my favorite things I learned in monastic life:
St. Romuald\’s Brief Rule

Sit in your cell as in paradise;
put the whole world behind you and forget it;
like a skilled angler on the lookout for a catch
keep a careful eye on your thoughts.

The path you follow is in the Text — don\’t leave it.
If you\’ve come with a novice\’s enthusiasm and can\’t
accomplish what you want, take every chance you can find
to sing the Text in your heart and to understand it
with your head; if your mind wanders as you read
don\’t give up but hurry back and try again.
Above all realize that you are in God\’s presence;
hold your heart there in wonder as if before your sovereign.
Empty yourself completely;
sit waiting, content with God\’s gift,
like a little chick tasting and eating nothing
but what its mother brings.

Solitary Running

Ever noticed how I keep returning to the topic of solitude? Yes, I am trying to explain it to myself.

Thoughts about solitude while I ran this morning: I find solitude so misunderstood; and so indefensible. In spiritual practice, silence, my mind goes beyond the boundary of tumultuous thoughts laid out by my ego nature. Beyond this layer, all is silent. There is nothing there for the ego to grasp, so utter peace does not seem desirable. But I go there over and over when I am meditating. It is my primary practice. I simply hold in my mind the daily lesson from A Course in Miracles and rest in the Presence it brings to my mind. Nothing need be done and nothing need be accomplished. Victory is to keep only that one thought in the mind. When I am out running, I think about that place of silent peace and also use the daily thought as a mantra. That is it. That is all. Nothing more need be said or explained.

Well, I need to add that I did understand something for myself today. Since I visit this place beyond the ego, I am starting to think of it as my home, my origin. So when I enter ordinary life and relate to others, I am coming from the other side, a different reality; while most of those I relate to have never been to the other side. This explains why I don’t understand everyday worldly doings so much anymore and don\’t participate. I come from the other side, never really come fully into this world, and then return to the other side.

The thing my ego can’t stand is that there is no advantage to this shift in home base. In fact, it is a detriment for the time I am in society; because I’m not playing the system to the best of my advantage. I don’t look good. I take flak from colleagues who eat meat and are out of shape. Yet, then they turn around and appreciate my peaceful approach to our sometimes stressful work.

Yesterday evening, not getting started until 7:30, I walked on the treadmill for 45 min and rode my ex-bike for 45 min. This morning, feeling no pain, I decided to do an easy run; even though I have a marathon in a week. I jog/walked at ultra pace for 15.5 miles. It was very wonderful as this is the first really warm day we\’ve had this year. I jogged along the levy which is flat, gravel and windy. Despite no trees, the wind helps alot with drying the sweat. I drank about 40 oz of sports drink, but still lost a pound or two. I saw something new: small birds have built mud nests on the underside of a freeway overpass.

Afterwards, while eating, I put together this wish list of 2010 Ultras:
7/23: http://www.lunartrekrun.com/home
9/18: http://www.katy50.com
10/16: http://www.stpats24hour.com/
10/31: http://www.bsrun.com

The 10/16 dream is most likely to be cancelled due to a potential trip to Germany, but we\’ll see. I realized this morning that running fast marathons really really does cause injuries for me. I\’d rather not have an impressive marathon time and still go for a long run the next weekend. I dream of endless hours of mindless running or even working out in my apartment.

Now, I will quietly go about an easy weight lifting and core session while I listen to NPR. then maybe go get some groceries.

A Season of Contemplation – Introversion

Yesterday evening I was thinking of my life as a solitary, my experiment in social disorder, dis-integration. Is it a dilemma that I ended up as anti-social? Society acknowledges introverts, but expects introverts to put their feelings aside and get involved anyway. But, I am an introvert who decided to go down the natural path of who I am: stop participating in society.

In silence, I ponder the characteristics of my condition and my thoughts. Looking within, I see that there is nothing. I am a nobody. Without relationships, there is nothing I can call my personality. But that nothingness is also the answer. The inner nothingness is silence. Silence is in everyone and silence is the essence of reality beyond the material world. Silence is eternity. Silence is light and love and joy and peace. Life itself is silent. All higher values are silent. Integrity is quiet. Honesty need not speak. Commitment is ineffable. Not a word need be spoken. Nothing need be done.

Maintaining mental peace is essential; a truly worthy life achievement.

I ran 20 miles yesterday morning and lifted weights in the evening. Today, I worked out on the ex-bike and treadmill for 2 hours and then went to run 8 miles. I hope to do a core workout this evening. I got my hair cut really short: no waiting today.